(this essay accompanied my exhibition that was shown in Gallery Two at JamFactory in 2015)
The urge to explore seems to echo through Ulrica Trulsson’s bones; after leaving her home of Sweden in her teens, she has spent much of her life moving from place to place. Discovery of the world and of herself within it underpins Trulsson’s practice, which is characterized by refined structural elements, intriguing glazed surfaces with shifting colours and textures, and a preference for utilitarian vessels. Using variations of shape to explore space and glazed surfaces as a kind of restrained adornment for bold forms, the components of Trulsson’s work come together as meditations upon the minutiae and grandeur of the natural world.
It was in Melbourne that Trulsson began her studies in ceramics at Holmesglen, later moving to Adelaide in 2012 to undertake JamFactory’s renowned Associate Training Program. With mentors like Prue Venables and Kirsten Coelho, Trulsson was in safe hands to move from precocious and full of potential to accomplished emerging maker. Consequently JamFactory is a particularly fitting institution in which to hold her first solo exhibition - the place where Trulsson figured out the kind of maker that she wanted to be.
References to the earth and landscape abound in this body of work. The forms Trulsson leans towards are often stylized and pay homage to mid-century design and the utilitarian history of ceramics. The living landscape is re-imagined and abstracted using the ceramic vessel as a vehicle of meaning. This exercise in abstraction does not overshadow the utility of these objects though; their functionality is celebrated with the same vigour as their exploration of meaning. Lids slip snugly into their galleries, the jugs pour smooth streams of fluid, and each vessel is balanced from the inside out. Trulsson’s minimalistic forms and their arrangement in still life creates frames in which changing snapshots emerge –striations of rock, stilled swirls of water moved by unseen currents, hunks of ice, sea and stone.
When speaking about her influences, one particular source of inspiration Trulsson mentions are layers of sedimentary rock, in particular those at Hallett Cove, on the south coast of Adelaide where lines of sediment can be seen moving through the landscape. Using a meticulous and carefully timed process this influence has been translated as veins of colour and texture embedded within different clay bodies. Despite the skill involved in their creation, these pieces are not perceptibly laborious. Like all of Trulsson’s work, the degree of difficulty involved is not her focus; it is the revelation of little wonders, the delight of finding quirks and curiosities in the detail.
In the intimate space that this exhibition occupies individual scenes come together as one whole, creating tension and coalescence between forms, between ideas; what is angular emphasizes the curves of another, the variable textures bounce off one another, colours deepen in the presence of each other. The connection between forms articulates metaphorical, functional and aesthetic relationships that shift and realign within in their different contexts. These scenes become little worlds Trulsson has shared, for her viewer to explore, moments stilled to examine, gifting their curiosities over time.
Dr S. A. Phillips